A hotel security guard in Costa Rica has been sentenced to 16-years behind bars for the murder of a South Florida woman.
Bismark Espinoza Martínez was sentenced Monday after investigators found that he was responsible for the death of Carla Stefaniak, an insurance agent from Hallandale Beach, Florida.
Authorities say Sefaniak was visiting the Villa Le Mas hotel in Escazu for a day to celebrate her 36th birthday with her sister-in-law. Stefaniak’s sister-in-law left the same day while Stefaniak was scheduled to leave the next day. Stefaniak, however, never made her flight. Her body was eventually found on Dec. 3, 2018 buried in a shallow grave.
Stefaniak’s family says that she communicated with them throughout the trip up until 8pm the day before she disappeared. The 36-year-old told her family that she felt like the place was sketchy and that she was going to ask the guard for some water.
That was the last time they heard from her.
Investigators found that Martínez used his position to enter Stefaniak’s room where he then killed her.
Autopsy reports stated that Stefaniak suffered blunt force wound to the head and that she had cuts on the neck and arms.
When investigators quested Martínez, he lied and told that that he witnessed Stefaniak leave the hotel on her own accord on the day of her flight.
It wasn’t until later that a witness came forward and told investigators that Martínez admitted to them that he killed Stefaniak.
Stefaniak’s family asked for Martínez to be sentenced to the maxim term of 50-years behind bars while Costa Rican prosecutors asked for an 18- year sentence. Martínez was later sentenced to 16 years by a judge.
Martínez was also absolved of robbery charges that were connected to the case.
Airbnb, the avenue that Stefaniak booked the hotel through, was fined the equivalent of about $53,000 for the incident.